Ohio Law

News and Announcements from the Supreme Court of Ohio and Other Governmental Entities Within the Buckeye State.

Friday, February 11, 2005

Capitol Connection

Do you know what Ohio Capitol Connection is? It is a pay web site that offers news, bills, laws, and other information concerning the Ohio General Assembly. Those of you with access to OhioLINK databases probably can use this service already. Some public libraries also are subscribers and a library card will then gain you admission to the materials. The site offers more historical materials than the Ohio General Assembly's own web site, with some of it reaching back to the 117th G.A. The reason I'm posting about this is that there is a great article within the February 2005 issue of Bar Briefs (page 22), a publication of the Dayton Bar Association. Unfortunately, I could not find the article online. For more information on Capitol Connection, use this link.

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That "Other" Election Case

With all of the hubbub concerning the sanctions motion filed against the four attorneys involved with contesting the presidential election results in Ohio, the other election case has been all but forgotten. Sanctions were also sought against the same attorneys as in the presidential case for the case that challenged the results of the election for Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Ohio. In a procedural ruling issued yesterday, it was announced that Rep. John Conyers (D-Mi) was granted leave to file an amicus brief just as he was allowed to do in the presidential election case. A motion asking for the recusal of Justice Maureen O'Connor was denied within the same announcement.

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Ohio Bill Introductions

Here are some other bills of interest that have been introduced this session:

House

HB 48 IDENTITY THEFT (Hughes) To increase the penalty for identity fraud against an elderly person or disabled adult, and to create the Identity Fraud Passport.

HB 49 SEXUALLY ORIENTED OFFENSES (DeGeeter) To clarify what constitutes visual representations of a minor for prosecutions of pandering sexually oriented matter involving a minor.

HB 56 TRAFFICLIGHT CAMERAS (Raussen) To generally prohibit the use by law enforcement agencies of traffic law photo-monitoring devices.

Senate

SB 9 OHIO TERRORISM LAW (Jacobson) To require law enforcement officers to comply with certain federal mandates regarding homeland security; to create the offenses of criminal possession of a chemical weapon or biological weapon, criminal use of a chemical weapon or biological weapon, illegal assembly or possession of chemicals for the manufacture of a chemical weapon or biological weapon, money laundering in support of terrorism, and unlawful possession of a powerful laser;

SB 11 MINIMUM WAGE (Prentiss) To raise the standard minimum wage to $6.15 an hour beginning January 1, 2006, then to $7.15 an hour beginning January 1, 2007, and to require an annual adjustment of the standard minimum wage each year based on the consumer price index for urban wage earners and clerical workers.

SB 14 PRESCRIPTION DRUGS (Hagan, R.) To create the Drug Importation Program.

SB 29 SALES TAX EXEMPTION (Coughlin) To provide a one-week period each year from 2005 to 2008 during which sales of personal computer systems are exempt from sales and use taxes.

SB 35 INCOME TAX RETURNS (Spada) To allow married couples to file joint or separate state income tax returns, regardless of their federal income tax filing status.

SB 36 VOTER IDENTIFICATION (Spada) To generally require all electors who appear in a polling place to provide identification before being permitted to cast a ballot.

SB 47 STATE PARK FEES (Grendell) To prohibit the Division of Parks and Recreation in the Department of Natural Resources from adopting rules establishing a fee for parking a motor vehicle in a state park or for admission to a state park and to declare an emergency.


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One Nation Under God

Two Ohio General Assembly bills, SB 55 and HB 54, were introduced this week that would authorize a new license plate with the "One Nation Under God" language on it. Last year, a "Choose Life" plate was authorized by the G.A. With the number of co-sponsors listed for the bills, you can be sure one of them will be going to the Governor soon.

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Thursday, February 10, 2005

Podcasting

Podcasting is the "next big thing" in the blogging arena. A less robust cousin of the podcast is "audioblogging." Robert Ambrogi writes prolifically on all things Internet, and his latest column in Law Technology News is entitled "Podcasting: CLE's New Wave?" Read it. You may to register first, but the online access to the magazine is worth it. For news on audioblogging, head over to, appropriately enough, Audioblogger.

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Blog Post on Ken Blackwell

The web log Accuracy in Media had a guest blogger who wrote an interesting post on our Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell.

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Executive Orders and Proclamations

Here's something I found while tooling around the Secretary of State's site looking for voting machine info: There are lists of Executive Orders (1990-2003) and Proclamations (1991-2002) on the site in Excel format. For some reason, the links are located in the Elections section of the SoS web site. Full texts are not available, or at least I haven't found them yet.

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Voting Machine Order Continues to Stir Controversy

Ken Blackwell: "The attorney general's opinion is just that, an opinion."

Late yesterday, the secretary of state's office issued a tally showing 83 county election boards had met his Wednesday deadline for choosing a voting machine vendor. The holdouts are Cuyahoga, Franklin, Hamilton, Lake and Portage counties. Franklin and Portage went to court yesterday to obtain restraining orders against having to choose between the two machines specified by Secretary Blackwell.

LINK: Ohio News Network

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Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Battle of the Rock Halls

Let me ask you this: would you confuse the Cleveland-based "Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum" with the "Jewish Rock and Roll Hall of Fame?" I wouldn't either. This Reuters news story explains how the Cleveland people are asking a federal judge to stop two journalists and a radio company executive from putting up the site, saying the site will infringe on the original's trademark name and that the public would confuse the two. The papers filed in the Cleveland federal court state, according to Reuters, that the allegedly faux hall "misappropriated Rock Hall's substantial intellectual property rights as well as the goodwill associated therewith. Unless restrained ... by the court, such conduct will, permit defendants to gain an unfair advantage over Rock Hall."

But what's the remedy for this aggregious harm? The RaRHoFaM is asking for damages in excess of $100,000 because of "irreparable harm." Oy vey.

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More School Levy News

Here's a link to a story from the Ohio News Network.

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School Levies

The South-Western School District in central Ohio received another blow yesterday when voters failed to approve a levy for the second time in 3 months. The 9.7 mill levy would have cost the owner of a $100,000 about 300 bucks per year. It failed by a count of 11,503 to 10,782.

The decision guarantees that more than 165 employees will lose their jobs and extracurricular activities will be cut in the 2005-06 school year. The district is "not about pay-to-play" acording to Board President Greg McCarty (quote pulled from article in the Columbus Dispatch). This issue was decided by a mere 30% of the electorate.

From what I saw on TV last night, the levy in the city of London passed, while just about all of the others failed, whether they were an actual levy or some type of income tax. On a personal note, I can sympathize with people for feeling that they are taxed enough already, but when you shoot yourself in the foot like they did in South-Western, property values can't help but go down as parents look for private alternatives or move out of the district to more forward-looking school systems. What family with kids is going to want to move into that District? Can't think of too many.

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The Battle of 2006 Has Officially Begun

What happens when the current Ohio Attorney General and Secretary of State both are running for governor already, a race that ends in 2006? SoS Kenneth Blackwell had ordered Ohio counties to adopt voting systems that use paper ballots. The Franklin County Board of Elections via the county's prosecuting attorney asked the Attorney General for an opinion as to whether the SoS had the authority to order the counties to comply with his Directive 2005-1, issued January 12, 2005. The AG answered yesterday in the form of a press release and a 17 page opinion (2005-006). Here is the syllabus:

"The Ohio Secretary of State is not empowered to require, by means of an
administrative directive, that the board of elections of each county must, no later
than February 9, 2005, select a precinct count optical scan (PCOS) voting system
provided by a vendor certified by the Secretary of State or, if the board does not
make this selection, the Secretary of State will designate one of those vendors to
provide a PCOS voting system for use by the board."

And the beat goes on.

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State of the State

Amid criticism that Ohio's budget is in the dumper and the economy is slipping, Governor Taft gave his 7th State of the State address yesterday. Press release:

"Governor Bob Taft today delivered his seventh State of the State address, calling for tax reform and strategic investments to grow Ohio’s economy, create a more competitive business climate and add new high-paying jobs. Taft also outlined plans to make college more affordable."

You can find the complete text of the speech here. It is entitled, Unleashing Ohio's Economic Potential.

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Tuesday, February 08, 2005

ASCAP Offers Licenses to Podcasters

The American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers is offering a license to podcasters for musical performance rights on their shows. If you don't know what podcasting is, check out the info at iPodder. The license allows one to play ASCAP songs on a podcast in segments not to exceed 60 seconds for a price of $250 per year for individuals who are not realizing any income from the podcasts. There are other license categories for those with some type of revenue stream. This is a big development, and those interested in this should check out the license agreement at the ASCAP site.

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New BJS Report

Found this thanks to the Law Librarian Blog:

Contract Trials and Verdicts in Large Counties, 2001

Presents findings on contract cases disposed of by jury or bench trial in 2001 in the Nation's 75 largest counties. Information reported in numerical tables includes the types of cases, types of plaintiffs and defendants, trial winners, amount of damages awarded, and case processing time in contract trials. In addition, information on plaintiff and defendant post-verdict activity at the trial court and appellate levels is presented. This electronic only report contains a brief summary of the contract trial statistics.

Highlights include the following:

  • Judges adjudicated 56% of contract cases, while juries decided the remaining 44%.
  • In 2001 the overall median damage award, which includes both compensatory and punitive damages, for plaintiff winners in contract trials was $45,000.
  • Punitive damages were awarded most frequently in contract trials involving fraud, employment discrimination, or partnership dispute claims.
Could prove useful for one of those late Friday afternoon requests for information.

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Monday, February 07, 2005

Justice Resnick Pleads Guilty to DUI

Here is a link to a news update story from the Plain Dealer. Resnick, 65, was ordered to pay $500 of a $1,000 fine for drunken driving and received a 33-day jail sentence, with 30 days suspended. She must serve the other three days either in jail or in a treatment program. Her driver's license will remain suspended for six months.

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Rep. Conyers to File Amicus Brief in Election Sanctions Matter

Rep. John Conyers (D-Mi), has been granted the opportunity to file an amicus curiae brief in support of the attorneys who are being threatened with sanctions for filing the elections cases in Ohio after the November 2004 election. (Case number 04-2088). The motion was granted on February 3rd, and Rep. Conyers was given 10 days to file his brief and/or memorandum.

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Supreme Court Revises Judicial Campaign Limits

According to a news release from last Friday:

"The Supreme Court of Ohio today announced changes to campaign finance contribution limits for candidates running for judge in Ohio. The increases in contribution limits are intended in part to allow donors greater ability to participate in judicial campaigns through contributions to candidate funds rather than third-party issue advocacy groups, which have sullied past campaigns."

A chart of the limitations can be found here. A complete version of the revised rules can be found here. The changes in the contribution limits adopted by the Supreme Court became effective Feb. 1, 2005 and now apply to judicial candidates who campaign for judicial offices that will appear on the ballot in calendar year 2005 and subsequent years. The contribution limits in effect prior to Feb. 1, 2005 apply to fundraising on behalf of judicial candidates who campaigned for judicial offices that appeared on the ballot in 2004.

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This Blog Makes It To Wikipedia

Have you heard of a "wiki"? Have you heard of Wikipedia? Wikipedia is a free-content encyclopedia that anyone can edit. It is a very interesting concept. The wiki is similar in that a group of people agree to collaborate on a project and each one can add to the project, edit documents, etc. That is the fast and nasty "definition." I'm sure it's a bit more involved than that. Maybe you can look up the definition on the Wikipedia. Anyway, I heard that Ask Jeeves had bought Bloglines, my blog aggregator. I performed a quick search for "ohiolawinfo" on AJ and found two results. First was the blog itself, and the second was the Wikipedia entry for the Ohio election cases. Ohio Law can be found in the section called "Further Reading." Very cool.

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